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Germany's real crisis: Oktoberfest beer shortage looms

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The beer will flow in Germany this year, but perhaps not as much as everyone would like.

Beer brewers in Munich may not be able to supply enough beer for the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, local newspaper Munich TZ reported, but the problem is not a lack of the alcoholic beverage.

Instead, Heiner Müller, manager at the Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr brewery told TZ, brewers do not have enough bottles to supply the festival. He called on drinkers to return their empties.

"Dear Munichers — bring back your crates. We need our empties,” Müller said.

Warm summer weather combined with popular festivals led to a sharp increase in consumption in the city, according to Munich TZ. 

Brewers wash and reuse their bottles up to 50 times and rely on their customers to turn return them, but that hasn’t happened quickly enough this time and is preventing beermakers from building up the required supplies.

Every summer brewers deal with a shortage of bottles, but it never has been as bad as this year, a spokesman for Hofbräu brewery, which is also suffering from a shortage of bottles, said. He claimed the brewer was short of “tens of thousands” of bottles.

Spaten and Löwenbräu, two other brewers, said they were running short of 30-liter kegs.

Hofbräu spokesman Stefan Hempl told the paper the brewer would start prioritizing the production of light and wheat beers. Dark beer drinkers will have to wait.

The diminished supply comes only weeks before the suds-soaked bacchanal for which the German state is famous which kicks off on September 22.

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